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Author Archives: Dimitra Atri

 
Dimitra Atri About Dimitra Atri
Dimitra is a Research Scientist at the Particle Astrophysics Group, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. His papers can be accessed here: http://arxiv.org/a/atri_d_1 His home page is here: http://kusmos.phsx.ku.edu/~dimitra/Home.html
 
26
Mar 2013

Exploding stars and DNA

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
Our Galaxy is filled with high-energy subatomic particles generated by exploding stars or supernovae, also known as cosmic rays. These particles strike the Earth’s atmosphere and produce more (secondary) particles, which damages the ozone layer and causes DNA damage to terrestrial and marine life. In Carl Sagan’s words: ” The evolution of life is driven in parts through mutations by the deaths of distant stars. We are, in a very deep sense tied to the cosmos.” Life has evolved over the past ~ 3 billion years....
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05
Jul 2012

Decoding the discovery: Another giant leap for mankind

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
I have always wondered what it would have been like to be alive when Einstein proposed his theories of relativity, or when Watson & Crick cracked the structure of DNA or when Armstrong & Aldrin landed on the moon. Well, I experienced it yesterday, when I witnessed history in the making. It took almost half a century to discover this new fundamental particle theorized by Peter Higgs et al. in a series of seminal papers in the 60s. It is....
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03
Jul 2012

Higgs Boson: Yes/No/Maybe?

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
It is always good to see science covered in the mainstream media. It is equally disheartening to see misinterpretation of scientific results. I am sure you’ve been hearing a lot about the “discovery” of the Higgs Boson particle, also (unfortunately) coined as the “God particle”. If you are not a physicist, you might find difficulty in interpreting the results. So, here is a particle physics 101 so that you can make your own opinion about the results. In particle physics....
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02
Apr 2012

Yesterday was April 1

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
So, let me explain why one could NEVER receive an ETI signal with particle detectors. As I mentioned yesterday, in addition to electromagnetic radiation, our galaxy is filled with charged particles known as comic rays (for historical reasons). These particles are highly energetic, traveling at relativistic speeds, so one could think to use them to communicate across galactic distances, instead of light. But it turns out that our galaxy (like other galaxies) consists of turbulent magnetic fields distributed non-uniformly. Even our....
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01
Apr 2012

OMG! signal: Evidence of extraterrestrial life?

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
As many of you may know, on August 15, 1977, Jerry Ehman of Ohio State (By the way, OSU lost to KU yesterday. Go Jayhawks!), while working on the SETI project at the Big Ear radio telescope discovered the famous Wow! signal. Since it was a narrowband radio signal, it could have been produced only by an artificial source and therefore was a clear evidence of extraterrestrial life. However, that signal was never received again and several follow-up observations failed....
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23
Feb 2012

Neutrinos still superluminal

POSTED BY: DIMITRA ATRI
 
By now, you must have heard about the “BREAKING NEWS” that neutrino velocity measurement conducted by the OPERA experiment was flawed because of a faulty cable connection. If you think about this, a loose/faulty connection (as mentioned in various media outlets) would result in a delay in the signal. So, one would record a greater time measurement than the actual value. If one rectifies it, the new measurement should show a shorter time measurement than the one previously recorded. As....
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